COMING TO LR: And the chief has concerns.
rumor is circulating of a special City Board meeting at 9 p.m. tonight to discuss city response to news of a rap concert. At 6:40 p.m., no notice of such a meeting had been sent. A two-hour notice is required for a legal meeting. City Board members are not happy about the late information and the lack of information about the city police response which apparently has now included some discussions with the promoter.
: City attorney Tom Carpenter says City Manager Bruce Moore informed him about 7:30 p.m. that Clear Channel, owner of the concert venue, had canceled tomorrow night's concert and that should mean there's no need for a special meeting tonight. Though I requested it from several city officials I have not received a notice of the meeting. Mayor Mark Stodola later said he had been working to cancel the concert in account of safety concerns.
The original post:
Police Chief Kenton Buckner
has notified Little Rock city officials about concerns about a rap show scheduled Friday night in Little Rock.
A letter from Buckner to an executive with the company staging the event cites incidents that have arisen at previous shows by the performer, MoneyBagg Yo
. He cited two shootings, one fatal, at concerts in Mississippi and Georgia and the New Jersey shooting of a van in which MoneyBagg was riding, purportedly because he didn't pay protection money to the "Sex Money Bloods Murder Gang."
Buckner also said UAPB is not sponsoring the show, as advertising indicates, and that plans he's heard to hire 10 off-duty police for the event are inadequate. He asks for a discussion of security plans and to put more police in place.
The show is at Metroplex
at Col. Glenn and I-430. It's a former broadcast studio now used as an events and concert venue.
City Manager Bruce Moore
is spreading the word to the City Board and others. Several city officials aren't happy about learning about the matter so close to the event. There are some limits on what the city can do. The 1st Amendment still applies and taking steps to curb performances in advance — without some very good reason — can be frowned on by courts as prior
restraint. But Little Rock's recent experience with a mass shooting at a club has city officials on edge.
I was able to speak briefly with Robert Emmons,
identified as a spokesman for Metroplex Live, the concert producer, by another employee there. He told me he'd spoken to Buckner and agreed to increase the force of Little Rock police at the event to 15. He also said there'd be 30 "T-shirt security" working. He said those entering will have to pass through metal detection.
Was he concerned, given past incidents?
"Do I worry about what happened at another venue that was mismanaged? No." He said, shortly before hanging up on me that after talking with Buckner "I felt like it was pretty much OK."
I haven't heard back from Buckner on that point.
Here's the letter he sent that has been sent around to city officials.
Statement issued by Stodola at 8:57 p.m.
"Late this afternoon I, along with members of the Board of Directors, learned of a planned concert featuring a performer with a history of violent incidents at two concerts in the past year as well as a shooting in August of this year that targeted the van in which the performer was riding. While the Little Rock Police Department had obtained intelligence and had been working to increase security, it was my opinion that the concert should not be held. There was no way to guarantee the safety of the audience, to effectively guarantee safety in the large parking lots of the Metroplex and with the State Fair beginning it made no sense to pull police resources from other areas of the city. I began in earnest exploring options for cancelling the concert. These included contacting the promoters and venue and urging them to cancel the concert as well as calling a special Board of Directors meeting for tonight to explore the pursuit of an injunction halting the concert. We have made strides in calming the recent uptick in violent crime in the city and putting this event on, considering the propensity of the performer's past concerts prompting violence, defies all logic. Our law enforcement officers are already doing so much. Since my discussions with the sponsors of the concert, I have learned that the concert has been cancelled and the special meeting is no longer necessary. As public officials, our most important duty is public safety. Public safety will continue to be our top priority for all our citizens as we work together to ensure to the best of our ability the safety of our people."